Friday, January 23, 2009

Public Speaking: Improvise Your Flipchart

Oops! I broke my own rules and did not follow a checklist on my last presentation. It was two minutes until start time and I realized there was no flipchart in the room. Oh oh!. Better think fast. I was not using an overhead projector either, so I could not simply write on a blank transparency.Now one & 1/2 minutes left . . . . I thought, "Never let em see you sweat."

So, I went into the hall way to sweat. I saw a flipchart in use by the AirForce folks who were in the next room. I borrowed one piece of flipchart paper and went back into my room. Now one minute left. I put the paper on the floor still not knowing what I would do with it.So I hit the stage and begin the program. 30 minutes in it was the momentof truth. I had a spare marker in my prop box. Ok so far. I had masking tape too. . . . but the way the room was set there was no place to put thepiece of paper that would allow both sides of the room to see it.

I guess it was time to have some fun. I asked for three volunteers to BE my flipchart. I qualified the request to include one person with a black shirt (in case the marker leaked through the paper). This got a good laugh.I had the person with the black shirt turn their back to the audience. The other two helpers held the flipchart paper against blackshirt's back. We had a blast! The three volunteers were laughing. The audience was laughing. Ad-libs were flying. The blackshirt person was getting tickled with the point of the marker. And I still got the point across that I had planned all along.

OK I'll admit I messed up by not checking for the flipchart. However, if you are willing and able to stay flexible in the face of the inevitable challenges you will face as a fun presenter, adversity can turn positive very quickly.

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